MPPL 621: Building Sustainable Communities: Placemaking in Housing and Environmental Policy
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MPPL 622: Leading Smart Cities: Technology and Local Government
The question of building sustainable communities—that is communities that continue to preserve and advance the quality of life for its members—is at the heart of every jurisdiction’s planning processes. These plans cover topics such as public safety and protection, transportation management, air, and water quality management, economic development, workforce training, education, and housing. In each of these policy areas, public leaders in partnership with private organizations and agencies work to sustain and improve the quality of life in their communities.
This course will examine how regulatory and legislative processes interact with the public and communities to forge these plans and strategies. Specific emphasis will be placed on two topics that are at the top of the list of problems in many communities: housing and environmental policies. With home affordability, homelessness, and climate change at the forefront of many policy debates, this class will examine how leaders are working in these critical policy domains to find solutions that not only address the immediate issues but build foundations for continuing that success into the future.
MPPL 623: Using Fiscal Processes to Innovate
Technology has redefined almost every dimension of society’s everyday lives. The smartphone in someone’s hand has more computing power than room-sized mainframes from just a few decades ago. That power when paired with adequate data bandwidth and internet access has the power to define the overall quality of the user’s life-giving them instant access to quality restaurants, health services, connections to other people, traffic updates, and even their offices. Businesses and community organizations now use this access as the backbone of their business models. Government is just starting to engage the benefits of technology and is now rapidly expanding how it uses data, information, the internet of things, artificial intelligence, and technology infrastructure to increase resident access, improve transparency, and improve the responsiveness and efficiency of the services they provide.
This course will explore how government is addressing issues around access, cost, and privacy while expanding the use and quality of the information and services it provides over technology platforms. It will explore, for example, how smart systems are allowing cities to deploy police and fire resources, to communicate more easily with a wider range of residents, create public access to volumes of public information, and to enhance the ease with which residents interact with their government.
MPPL 624: Leadership in Times of Crisis: Protecting Public Safety and Responding to Disasters
Public finance is one of the most important aspects of local government leadership and management. Not only is “follow the money” a mantra of local government activists, but it is a powerful measure of a community’s priorities and values. This course will investigate how local governments prioritize, plan, and allocate their fiscal resources. It will explore how these processes can be used to promote transparency, accountability, and efficiency in state and local government finance.
This course will examine both traditional and cutting-edge approaches to budgeting to show how innovative leaders are using techniques like civic engagement exercises, performance-based and priority-based budgeting, and other fiscal tools to redefine the culture, priorities, and responsiveness of local jurisdictions to their residents.
Public safety reform and COVID-19 redefined the American political landscape in the summer of 2020 in ways that will be felt for decades at all levels of government. At the center of these crises are the leaders and managers who must guide their communities through the morass of confusion and uncertainty that has emerged in these two critical areas. Public safety is almost always the largest expenditure of local governments. Keeping people safe, whether it be from crime or violence, or from a natural or manmade disaster, is one of the fundamental jobs of government.
This course will study the bureaucratic and political processes that guide the creation and execution of those plans. It will explore the constraints, opportunities, and challenges of keeping the public safe through the lenses and experiences of those leaders who bore that responsibility and from the perspective of those they served. It will identify the best practices exemplified by the success stories and pull important lessons from the failures.